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Follow-up correspondence between CELOS (Jutta) and Councillor Layton re skate lending

Dec.28, 2017, to Councillor Layton:

Good idea about public discussion. A few weeks ago we made a skate lending poster (attached) suggesting that "skaters put their heads together with staff and think of a way to make it work" -- but city management says we're not allowed to put it up at any rink.

Would you agree that this poster is one way to encourage public discussion?

Jan.2, 2018, from Councillor Layton

You are free to put up the posters (cannot guarantee that staff will not remove them), but the caption that I said staff are too busy is not an accurate reflection of my comments. Christie Pits does not have the resources and facilities to run a skate lending program. If you want to say that I said the City does not have the budget to maintain a skate lending program (resources for dedicated and trained staff, knowledgeable about the program) than you can splash my name on the poster. I will continue my ongoing work to figure out how an equitable way to make skate lending work.

Jan.2, 2018, from Jutta

Actually, Mike,your name is not "splashed" on the poster I attached, nor did I intend it to put any councillor's name on it. However: you and the city spokesperson both said staff are too occupied with ensuring safety to lend skates. From your quote: "they're typically there to address safety issues, so you can't have them running to the back and fitting people for skates."

I read that as too busy. Which only makes sense if they are actually security guards, not rec workers. I've been looking for the record of the meeting at which council directed that, but so far no luck.

And re the policy of not allowing citizens to post non-city notices on public space bulletin boards (and therefore giving staff the liberty to rip them all down): is that a council direction? I hope not.

Jan.2, 2018, from Councillor Layton

They can certainly be placed on the bulletin board and will not be removed. I was referencing if they were to be posted elsewhere/on the building.

I am putting forth a letter to Parks and Environment today to try and have this addressed requesting that staff investigate a way to make this arrangement work, as I mentioned I would in my comments to West End Phoenix.

Jan.3, 2018, from Councillor Layton

My letter has been submitted for inclusion on the CDRC agenda and you will be able to find it here once it is published:

http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/decisionBodyProfile.do?function=doPrepare&decisionBodyId=1034#Meeting-2018.CD25

I have attached an advanced copy for your information.

Jan.4, 2018, from Jutta

Good morning Mike, thank you for sending this.

The skate rentals at Dufferin, Wallace and Campbell rinks have been run by city staff for 9+ years. Why do you call those programs community-led? They were led by on-site staff. Prior to management changes in 2012, the programs were self-supporting at all three rinks. When CELOS did the books, the income was entered into Quickbooks and publicly reported. From 2013 it was marked as income in SAP.

You wrote to me that "Christie Pits does not have the resources and facilities to run a skate lending program." Christie Rink has the unused kitchen with the large counter, and it has the underemployed staff. An experienced Dufferin Rink staff person could have a working skate lending program set up in 48 hours, unless the existing Christie Rink staff can't be trusted with money. In that case, those staff would have to be rescheduled to other sites and traded with existing city rink staff who are trustworthy.

However, if council has indeed mandated that Parks and Rec drop-in programs are to focus on those requiring "limited staff supervision" (link), then that is the issue that needs discussion. As long as drop-in programs are not part of Parks and Rec's "core business," and the rink rec staff are basically seen as cleaners and security staff, your letter to the committee is easy for Ms.Romoff to answer and does not need to wait until it gets buried in July. And in fact Matt Cutler, her manager of issues management, already explained the "core business" problem when David Rothberg (donor of the $3000) and I met with Mr.Cutler on December 8. I've copied them both here.

Jan.4, 2018, from Councillor Layton

I will not accept the status quo in the report back. I will expect to see steps like you have outlined taken by PF&R to ensure skate rentals are a possibility across the City.

Jan.4, 2018, from Jutta

A nice little 2-minute animation Mike Conway did for CELOS in 2012 on good rinks, with skate rental as one of the elements, is on Youtube here. We've been trying to get the City's attention on how to increase the use and enjoyment of the rinks for a l-o-n-g time (about 10 years).

But city staff and council seem to prefer not to get outside advice -- or rather, not advice that's free and right under their noses..


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